The project brief was to create Amazing Accrington – educational resources with a difference that would ignite interest and enthusiasm for the heritage of Accrington, a once thriving Lancashire cotton mill town. Funding came from the HLF funded restoration project – the Accrington Townscape Heritage Initiative.

The resulting resources – an educational film, lesson plans and activities, and an augmented reality aura- were tailor made for Peel Park Primary School, linking with historic figures and events specific to the school.

The success of Amazing Accrington 2016 led to three further films being produced in 2017 – linked to the history of Woodnook and Hyndburn Park Primary Schools, and the Haworth Art Gallery.


Liaison with the school, THI officer and film company Digifish.
Commissioning Digifish and voice over artist.
Location support, filming permissions and risk assessment.
Historical and copyright research.
Creation of a digital aura and instructions for same.
Producing long term curriculum planning and background information.


In 2016 Hyndburn Borough Council commissioned Amazing Accrington, a local history education resource as part of the HLF funded Accrington Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).  The THI centred on the restoration of the historic town square and surrounding buildings, which would result in a change of traffic flow, trees being removed, and new interpretative street furniture being installed.

The THI scheme received a mixed reaction from Accrington residents. An Amazing Accrington schools resource would provide an opportunity to highlight aspects of the town’s history specific to Peel Park primary school, engaging the interest of children and parents and encouraging them to explore these local links further. Detailed planning and supporting information would ensure that Accrington’s heritage would be embedded into the history curriculum (Local History Study – Changes in the Landscape and Working Life, Significant People and Events).


The council were keen to avoid the worksheet scenario and after consulting with Peel Park’s history teacher and head, we decided to create a ten minute educational film and augmented reality resource alongside planning for history, geography and science.

The town of Accrington played a central role in the Lancashire cotton industry, through its dyeing, engineering and weaving mills.  The film starts with the school and its links to a local historic figure – Robert “Parsley” Peel, a textile printing innovator.  The film contained several pause points along the way with questions for the teacher to use as starting points for classroom discussion or field based research.  The children’s interest was sparked by the fact that film was narrated by an ex pupil of their school and they were excited to discover that their playing field had once been the home ground of Accrington Stanley F.C. The film was uploaded to the school blog which sparked discussion at home.  In the classroom, it was well supported with background information, session plans and suggested activities as well as a digital copy of every image in the film.  An augmented reality aura was provided linked to the geography curriculum, along with instructions for the children to make their own.


The children were passionate about Accrington due to the film and their involvement” (Class teacher)

Family discussions of Amazing Accrington at home led to a Great Grandma asking if she could come into the classroom to share with the children some memories and artefacts.  Her grandparents were the Mayor and Mayoress of Accrington in the 1970s and she shared photos, medals and books with the class.

The film provided the starting point for a field trip along a local trail and to the town centre. Using their iPads, Y3 children took pictures of human and physical features which they used to create their own auras.  The trigger images were printed off and placed around the school hall for the children to use their iPads to view each other’s auras.


The children created a 3D junk model town in the classroom and used Digimaps to position the roads in the town centre.  They produced Amazing Accrington scrap books filled with facts, pictures, opinions, and stories, as well as surveys on transport and working patterns within their family.  They also created auras in other lessons.


Lancashire Telegraph
Hyndburn Borough Council
Accrington Observer

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